From the train station we walked the charming narrow streets of Tivoli toward the villa and were instantly greeted with a lovely, flowery scent of just laundered clothes hanging outside people’s apartment windows. I stopped and watched one elderly woman above me as she hung out her wash, she grimaced at me after I waved to her and smiled, who could blame her, after all for some people doing laundry is an awful task, (personally I rather eat a brick) but in Italy…everything seems…so… so… so… exciting…and and… and full of life and so so so full of life and I get excited and full of life and excited and full of life and…LIFE! ITALY!
As we came close to the Villa Mass was letting-out, men in their slick outfits and pointy shoes and heavily perfumed women in their Sunday best pased us. The church bells rang and all was perfect in my world. I have moments like this at least once a day. I love Italy.
We soon arrived at the Villa and while in line waiting to purchase tickets I heard someone say that the Villa d’Este is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture and of an Italian Renaissance garden. I wouldn’t know, but I do know it was awfully purtty!
The Villa sits on top of a hill offering a spectacular view of the valley below and bluish mountain ranges off in the distance.
The garden is laid out on a central axis with additional cross-axes. The entire garden is made up of sprawling pools of greenish blue water that are homes to slender black fish that I couldn’t identify, but of course wondered if I could eat (fried and served with lemon or maybe a caper sauce…or grilled…) Throughout the garden are statues of sleeping nymphs, over-size fish with expressive eyes, Eagles, headless figures, busts, Gods and Goddesses and a long moss-covered section of stone faces spurting water (the hundred fountains). There are five hundred jets in fountains, glistening waterfalls and bubbling clear channels and all kinds of groovy cool things I should probably know more about.
Inside the Vila the frescos are vibrant and alive and you can’t help but walk through each room at a snail’s pace because they pull you in willingly… elegantly….slowly…..finally capturing all of you … Such exquisiteness! I noticed a young couple who sat on a bench in one of the rooms of the villa, their bodies were entwined, their heads tilted towards the ceiling, one rested their head on the other person’s upper shoulder, both of their mouths opened in absolute awe, clearly they were walloped into utter silence by all the beauty before them. I’ve been noticing in Italy that whenever I am around something outstandingly astonishing, people tend to become quiet, they whisper…they walk slow, there is something taking place, something great and the best part of it all, people shut their traps! But unlike me, I talk of dinner and lunch all day, especially when walking through a mock-up of a typical Renaissances buffet in one of the Villa’s room. Although the buffet was plastic, it was still fun to imagine ripping through the buffet with my all my foodie gusto, eating away at the fruit tarts, massive cakes, puddings, roasted pheasants and quails and all the other stuff that makes me droll. …
Shane and I returned to Rome hungry and went to my place and created Spaghetti la Tivoli….or it created us or we saw it on a menu and copied it or we… whatever… it was divine…give it a try…perhaps whip-it-up in-between doing your laundry or chasing waterfalls and beautiful frescos…
Shane and John’s Spaghetti la Tivoli
One cup chopped pancetta or bacon (packed and don’t drain after cooking!)
One small onion chopped
Two garlic cloves chopped
One can tomato sauce (the medium size, not the large)
One can chopped tomatoes (The medium size, not the large)
About a cup of Parmesan Cheese (or whatever amount you like)
S&P whatever much you like to use
In a deep sided sauté pan brown the pancetta. Then add the onions and cook them until they are translucent. Add the olives and pour in the cans of tomatoes. Wash the cans out with a little water and add to the pan. Then add the garlic and a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil and some salt & black pepper. Reduce sauce until thick. When the sauce is ready, put your cooked spaghetti in the pan in small batches at a time and keep turning it with tongs, adding little dashes of grated Parmesan and the chopped basil. Go slow, what’s the hurry? This is Italy, enjoy your life. When done heap it on a platter or individual plates and cover with more cheese and basil…. Have fun, we did!